Tag Archives: outdoors

last hurrah of summer, or first of fall

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William’s great grandfather, with a large group of friends and acquaintances, purchased 3,000 acres of remote land in Jackson County the 1920s – for hunting, fishing, and investment. Somehow he, and then his descendents, were able to hold onto about 300 of those acres, which we call Tuckaseegee, through the Great Depression and all the change that happens in the economy and families over time. So the extended family can still enjoy the property today. And, they really enjoy it. This place is special to them. They have had their favorite memories and most fun times here, as well as their saddest times (2 uncles died here). William absolutely loves this place of river playing, trout fishing, waterfalls, remote hiking, and relaxing meadows. And, we decided to spend our fall break (or at least most of it) here.

At their new school, the girls have one week off for fall break, and we packed up and headed to Tuckaseegee last Tuesday. And by packing up, I mean that you need to bring nearly everything but the kitchen sink to this remote mountain cabin (old lumber camp): all your food, linens, towels, clothes for all weather, games, toys, firewood, blankets, soaps, toiletries, etc. This place is at least 30 minutes from the nearest grocery store (and has no phone or cell service and no internet), so you don’t want to forget anything. I am a perpetual under-packer and William, an over-packer, so when we go to Tuckaseegee it usually works out well for us. At this beginning of the week, temperatures got to 80 and by the end of the week it was in the low 30s in the morning. I was unprepared for the cold, but William had packed all the kids’ winter coats so we got by. Evva, for the second time this year, forgot to bring her shoes. Luckily, we invited friends to join us for the weekend and they brought extra shoes.

We hiked on the muddy flats of a drained lake, fished, canoed, did a little dunking before the cold weather came, had campfires, and played games. Then, our friends came for the weekend. Playing with friends is one of my favorite things to do at Tuckaseegee (my very favorite is sitting quietly in the meadow reading a book). Having friends to talk and laugh with, friends for the children (and us) to play games, explore, and splash in the river with – it is great fun. There were some great musicians among the friends and family who joined us, and I loved hearing the old time and Irish music while I cooked for the crowd, washed up, or put kids to bed. The kids also had a couple of fun games of real musical chairs.

This weekend also marked my absolute resignation to the coming of fall. Don’t get me wrong, I love fall – the colors, the coolness, crisp days, blue skies, apples and pumpkins, and all that. But, I also love summer and I will miss it – green trees, flowers, warmth, playing in water, vacation, less clothing, fresh melons, tomatoes, corn, etc. But, I gave up on summer when the weather turned cold and we got our first frost and trees were undeniably not-all-green. I am accepting the beauty of the red and gold on the mountains, the crystal clear blue skies and cooler temps, and mentally preparing for the colder season ahead.

This trip was a great way to welcome fall, and say good-bye to summer.

August is flying by

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This month has been unseasonably cool (though this afternoon’s humidity and mild heat make me almost not write the former), with lots of rain and grey skies. When the sun does come out, we seem to want to be out in it as much as possible–enjoying the green-ness and summer while it lasts. We are eating many meals outside, playing games outside, working in the garden, playing in the sandbox, swinging, playing in the creek. Well, our children are doing most of the sandbox and swing play, while William and I do most of the work in the garden (and mowing of the grass).  I love to look out and see these little ones playing, being silly, and enjoying the freedom of childhood.  Hythe will give his silly smile, wrestle his little brother.  Most play outside is rambunctious, but occasionally I will see a few of them in quiet play–like this chess game.  After Evva won, and they forgot to put the game away, I caught Steven having a wonderful time sitting at the board and throwing all the pieces, one by one, into the grass.  We are now down a few more chessmen.

We went to a family wedding this weekend when William’s cousin got married on the farm. It was a lot of fun, and one of my favorite things about it was the outfit Evva chose to wear (seen in top pic): polka dot dress (“polka dots are supposed to be for fun parties”), a red straw hat (my grandmother’s), a fashion-knit scarf (hand-knit by someone–not me), and her new umbrella (gift from Daddy for the large rain storm that was predicted to happen during the outdoor wedding).

Tuckaseegee summer visit

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We finally got up to the semi-remote property that my husband’s great-grandparents bought in the 1920s, and is now owned by his family and extended family. This property is on the headwaters of the Tuckaseegee River, with lots of National Forest land around. It is a beautiful spot, with no cell phone reception, TV, or phone line. There is electricity, but staying in the 100+ year old “lodge” (which was built by loggers, and probably not intended to stay upright for more than 20 years), is really glorified camping. The wooden floors lean, the mice outnumber the visitors, and the doors barely shut (or else don’t open). But, the kitchen has a great gas stove, which is fun to cook on, and the rooms stay dark so that children (and hence their parents) sleep in, there is a new mattress that does not smell musty, and right now, the roof does not leak–plus there is a flush toilet(!).

Anyway, we always have a fun time–fishing and splashing in the river, hiking, roasting marshmallows, and playing games (baseball or board games, depending on the weather).  We, or I should say they, did a lot of fishing, and we had an epic game of Monopoly.

Though usually, we visit with friends or extended family, this weekend, it was just us. A few people told us they planned to come up on Saturday, but the weather ultimately kept them home.  We enjoyed the river in the morning before the rain and board games on the porch during the rain.

We are hoping to get back this fall for close to a week, rather than the usual weekend. It is quite a lot of work to stay there (bring your linens, food, pillows, clothes, towels, etc.–and then wash them all when you get home), so it will be nice to spend more time. And, get to explore more places with the little ones. They have not experienced all the trails, lakes, and interesting things in the area, and William and I are looking forward to being with them to do it.